Monday, April 29, 2013

Too Amazing for Words...

The weather here went from this last Monday and Tuesday:

 To this on Thursday:

And, in addition to the weather becoming suddenly glorious with temperatures in the 70's, we did all of this:
John turned 12!


Anna and David went to their first formal!

And, in case that wasn't enough fun, the whole family went to a Twins game on Saturday, where the glorious weather continued and the Twins even won!

There was a cowboy hat giveaway, so now we have 7 of those!

Today the weather is so nice that we are having a bonfire tonight for Daniel's 10th birthday.  I was even inspired to clean the six months' worth of grime from the screened porch, where I am sitting now, enjoying, guess what? The glorious weather! 

Happy Birthday Daniel!
And if that isn't really enough about how great our last few days have been around here, I have also taken two outside runs.  I've left the squishy safety of the treadmill and have managed well so far on the hard asphalt, 3 miles each time.  This is a big milestone and I am so excited!

Someone needs a tan!
That's all for now!  Life is Different Here this week, and I am so thankful!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sometimes Edwin Travels

Edwin has been traveling a lot.  If you're friends with him on Facebook you've seen his "Sometimes I go to _______" photos.  Sometimes I add smart comments like, "Sometimes you should take your wife!"  But you must know that I am glad he gets to go neat places; I'd be even more glad if we all got to go.  All that said, he's good at his job and I'm proud of him.

Last week he spent most of his time in Santiago, Chile, which means he had many hours on airplanes.  Someone out there invented the overnight flight, thinking it would be such a good use of time while the passengers sleep.  Maybe that's true for those people who can sleep on a plane!  Not so for poor Edwin.  He did some make up sleeping over the weekend.  He also ate lots of seafood in Chile, including octopus.  "Eeeewww!" and, "Did it stick to your tongue?" were the most-popular kid responses.
Looks like a lot of big cities, but it's early fall and still feels like summer!
Mount Hood from the air, taken on Edwin's last trip to Portland

Next week Edwin will spend most of the week in Portland, Oregon.  Since John is turning 12 on Tuesday we got to celebrate early, having his birthday lunch (Smash Burgers, his choice), cake (chocolate), and presents Sunday afternoon.  The good news is we'll treat Tuesday as special, too, so the birthday fun will continue.  And then there's Daniel's birthday to look forward to on April 29!

A friend pointed out to me that now all the kids will be in double digits (Daniel's turning 10).  I'm pretty sure that makes the parents pretty old; just saying!  We did get a bit of a late start with the kids, which is really noticeable when Edwin and I think of how we are now older than our parents were when he and I got married.  Let that one sink in a few minutes...

We've had a fun weekend here.  Lots of fun and family time, trying to recharge for the week ahead.  Maybe spring will come this week.  For now we're still covered in snow, but I do see some higher temps in the forecast.  There's even a chance for 70 degrees by next weekend.  That would be great, but for now just one green leaf on a tree would give me a mental boost.  As a friend of mine would say, "33rd day of spring, my foot!"  We love it here!

Birthday pictures to come later in the week!  And if I see a leaf I will be sure to sound the alert!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Running Smarter (?) : What's Different

I mentioned that I was thinking differently about my running after that nasty tibial stress fracture.  At one point after almost three months on crutches, about the time we were really thinking I'd be heading into surgery sometime soon, Edwin looked at me and said, "I think you'd be crazy to ever run again."  I almost agreed with him at that point!  But one of the many things I learned while injured is that I had really (finally) learned to love running, and I definitely missed that part of my life.

My original training plan for last summer's half marathon has been studied and re-studied, and it was declared to be a reasonable, fine plan.  Theoretically, I did everything right.  And I still ended up with a major injury.  I'm not sure if that is supposed to make me feel better or not!  All I can do now is follow an improved plan, and hope and pray that I can continue to be a longer-distance runner.

Here are some of the things that are different now:

  • This time I will listen to my body a little more closely!  What I gained in mental toughness was lost in time off for an injury that I ignored for too long.  Sometimes vigorous exercise causes pain; I get that.  But I hope that now I can tell the difference between general soreness and pinpoint, severe pain.  Lesson learned. I hope.
  • This time I will not continue to push towards a goal race if, at the last minute, it seems best for me not to run.  I really thought that time off after the race would make everything better.  But the reality is that those extra 13.1 miles surely added to my time on crutches.
  • This time I am cross-training. Really, this time.  I've been riding the exercise bike two or three times a week in addition to running three times, and that's building up my leg strength and adding to my cardiovascular endurance while keeping the weight off of that tibia.  Combine that with listening to my body and that means that some days when I want to run I end up biking because I am feeling that familiar spot on my shin bone a little too much.  And if it ever stops snowing I will really enjoy riding my almost-brand-new bike that's been collecting dust for way too long now!
  • This time I am doing push-ups and a bit of strength work.  I will try to increase this with time, but I am still amazed at how wimpy my upper body was.  The first four weeks on crutches nearly killed me because I was not strong at all.  I'm working on that now.
    Now I can do 10! [From Pinterest]
  • This time I am stretching much more deliberately.  I've always stretched, but I have noticed a difference since I've been timing myself to stretch longer.  And I can tell the next day, so I'm becoming a believer!
  • This time I am trying to breathe differently.  This is hard because I am addicted to running with music, and the breathing advice I am trying to follow is decidedly off-beat.  IN-2-3-OUT-2, IN-2-3-OUT-2, IN-2-3-OUT-2.  I read about it here.  The whole thing is based on the fact that your core is weakest while you are exhaling, and some stress injuries occur because most of us breath in such a way that we are always exhaling while putting weight on our dominant leg.  So the five-count inhale/exhale process means that you exhale on the right leg this time, then the left leg next time.  It's worth a try as far as I'm concerned.  And I am getting used to it.
Well, that's more than enough for now.  I do hope to take an actual outdoor run for the first time in a very long while one of these days soon.  For now we're having an April Blizzard!  One last (I hope) picture of the current view from my front door...
April 18, 2013

Are you still having winter??
Do you love to run on the treadmill like I do??
Do you listen to music when you run??

Monday, April 15, 2013

Boston Marathon Tragedy: Life Is Different There

Psalm 56
Be gracious to me, O God, for man tramples on me;
all day long an attacker oppresses me;
my enemies trample on me all day long,
for many attack me proudly.
When I am afraid,
I put my trust in you.
In God, whose word I praise,
in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.
What can flesh do to me?
All day long they injure my cause;
all their thoughts are against me for evil.
They stir up strife, they lurk;
they watch my steps,
as they have waited for my life.
For their crime will they escape?
In wrath cast down the peoples, O God!
You have kept count of my tossings;
put my tears in your bottle.
Are they not in your book?
Then my enemies will turn back
in the day when I call.
This I know, that God is for me.
In God, whose word I praise,
in the Lord, whose word I praise,
in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.
What can man do to me?
I must perform my vows to you, O God;
I will render thank offerings to you.
For you have delivered my soul from death,
yes, my feet from falling,
that I may walk before God
in the light of life. 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Starting Over: How Life Is Different Here Now (The Summary)

To say it's been a while is an understatement.  One measly post with some mediocre pictures stood in for my usual string of winter complaints.  Maybe that's a good thing.  If I'm going to complain about winter in Minnesota I can at least not publish it for the world 10 people (5?) who read my blog to see.  I'd love to report that winter is over and spring is here and all is well with the weather world, but, alas, we got a big snow in almost-mid-April, right after nearly all the snow in our yard had melted...

The family is doing great.  The kids are all racing to outgrow me and eating us out of house and home.  Here are a couple of pictures from our Easter hike at Minnehaha Falls.  It's what Easter looked like in Minnesota this year, and it's another example of how Life Is Different Here:

I hope to begin writing again; time will tell if I follow through.  I decided to pop in today for a short post because I feel like I have arrived at a running milestone following that pesky running injury.  Here's the summary of the last nine months or so, as it relates to running anyway!
  • 4 weeks of running through the pain (including my first half-marathon)
  • 4 weeks of hoping to get better (but getting worse)
  • 13 weeks of non-weight-bearing crutches
  • 5 weeks of remembering how to walk without limping
  • 15 weeks of retraining: walking, biking, & running
  • Today: Ran 3 miles, all in a row, under 30 minutes.  Feeling done with the tibial stress fracture!
  • Enjoying pain-free running again, feeling very thankful...
I've been thinking a lot about what should be different in my training this time around.  I really don't want another injury! I have made a few changes and I am definitely on alert for signs of trouble, taking the whole "listen to your body" thing much more seriously now. 

More on how Life Is Different Here coming soon!